Community rallies for Ingram family
Organising your own funeral is ‘‘weird’’, terminally ill cancerpatient Al Ingram says.
‘‘It must have been weirder for the guy that was talking to the man that’s going to be put in the box,’’ the 36-year-old Cromwell man says.
Al and wife Heidi, 36, recently got his Alexandra funeral sorted after learning he was going to die from a brain tumour about three months ago.
Now he has just weeks.
The former chef is trying to live as normally as possible and that includes making jokes.
‘‘If I don’t keep my sense of humour, then there’s not much left of me really,’’ Al says.
‘‘They have given me two to three weeks. That was three weeks ago.’’
Normality also includes spending as much time as possible with Heidi and daughters Maxine, 13, and Aria, 11, and it’s been made possible by the generosity of people, Al says.
At Easter the family embarked on an all-expenses-paid holiday to Fiordland which included staying at a Manapouri bach, vouchers from local restaurants and cafes, a Lake Te Anau cruise, a flight in an aqua plane and trips to the glow worm caves and Milford Sound.
‘‘I’m very independent and have never been anybody else’s pity-party [but] I’m so grateful. It is very humbling,’’ he says.
Heidi can’t think of the right words to explain how much people’s generosity means.
‘‘I just want to thank everyone that’s fundraised for everything,’’ she says.
As well as holiday offers, a Give a Little page had reached over $7000 since the diagnosis and people had told Al, ’don’t worry, we’ll look after your ladies’.
‘‘It gives me a bit of peace of mind that they are going to be looked after,’’ he says.
The tumour was slowly wearing him down now and his eyesight was starting to deteriorate, but he wasn’t bed-ridden yet and continued to fight.
However, he hopes the process is ‘‘not drawn out’’ especially for the sake of his children.
He was first diagnosed 15 years ago, ‘‘a week and one day’’ after he and Heidi were married.
Since then he’s had three surgeries and numerous rounds of chemo.
Doctors had now told him there was ‘‘nothing left they can do’’.
A plaster cast of terminally ill cancer patient Al Ingram’s hand clasping that of wife Heidi and children Maxine and Aria’s hands.